My Return to Springfield: 386 Reviews of TV’s Most Infamous Decline

Paul D. Mooney
61 min readSep 27, 2020

December 15th, 2002. The last night I watched an episode of The Simpsons as it aired. Season 14, Episode 6, number 297 overall. “The Great Louse Detective,” featuring Kelsey Grammar’s eighth appearance as Robert Underdunk “Sideshow Bob” Terwilliger.

It was, in a word, meh. No surprise there, obviously. No word has better summed up the feelings most of us have about the post-Principal Tamzarian (or PPT, as I shall henceforth call them) seasons of The Simpsons than “meh.” Though, in fairness, I knew about most later season through verbal or printed hearsay before now. Over 50% of all Simpsons episodes ever created aired after I ceased regularly viewing. And, despite my surety that the meh-itude continued apace, it always felt a little wrong to prejudge these hours and weeks of content from my once-favorite program. This is America, after all. Innocent until proven guilty.

With that in mind, I took it upon myself to sally forth on an epic and mildly punishing adventure into the dregs of allegedly mediocre TV Land. With most of life on hold due to the COVID-19 lockdown (including several weeks of furlough from my day job) I’ve had the time to brave the PPT years of The Simpsons. All of them. Thus, I hereby share my findings with the world, that those less courageous or with better social lives than I need not risk their sanity traveling down this same road. In brief snippets, of course. Like, two or three sentences apiece on average. There are hundred of these episodes and I do have other stuff to do.

1. Season 14, Episode 7: “Special Edna”

How fitting that the first episode on my docket is focused on Edna Krabappel and Principal Skinner. That’s right, Principal SKINNER. Not now, nor ever, “Tamzarian.” Anyway, it’s fine. I chuckled a few times. Dolphins truly are “nature’s most filmed animal.”

2. Season 14, Episode 8: “The Dad Who Knew Too Little”

Homer no understand Lisa. Lisa sad. Homer sad that Lisa sad. Homer make hijinks to understand Lisa. Oh no, backfire! Zany zany zany, happy happy happy. Roll credits. Cut it. Print it. Ship it. Air it. Seen it.

3. Season 14, Episode 9: “The Strong Arms of the Ma”

This episode occurred. I did not hate it. That is all.

4. Season 14, Episode 10: “Pray Anything”

Paul D. Mooney

Writer. Reader. Drinker. Bearded. Etc. You can read more stuff at or buy goofy military shirts he and his buddy design at